One of six statues in the city’s parks of the nation’s first president, George Washington (1732-1799), this sculpture by Donald De Lue (1897-1988) has its origins in two earlier projects by the sculptor.
This statue honors George Washington’s close association with the Free and Accepted Masons, a fraternal order founded in 1717, and dedicated to human liberty, religious tolerance, and fellowship. He was installed as first master of Alexandria Lodge on April 28, 1788. The first version of this statue was created by De Lue in 1959 for the Louisiana Lodge. A full-size faux-patined plaster model was displayed at the Masonic Pavilion of the New York World’s Fair of 1964-65 in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.
Following the fair, the sculptor was commissioned to create this replica in bronze, and with the assistance of former Parks Commissioner and Fair President Robert Moses (1888-1981), a site was selected for permanent placement near the former Masonic Center. The statue, cast in Italy, and positioned on a pedestal of North Carolina pink granite, was dedicated on June 3, 1967, the same day in which the World’s Fair Corporation returned the park back to the City. Additional copies of the statue were installed at the Masonic Hospital in Wallingford, Connecticut and at the Detroit Civic Center in Michigan.